Sunday, October 12, 2014

Driving the Amalfi Coast

Growing up and until a few years ago I was not aware of the Amalfi coast.   Now I have driven the Amalfi coast twice, once from the west and the second time from the east.  First thing that happens when you drive from the east is you miss this left turn, even with GPS.   Seriously, all this sign needs to be is a large arrow with two words, 'Costiera Amalfitana' or just SS 163.
 That left turn  runs right into the Piazza Vietri before going onto the road of Amalfi.
 I have posted in the past about the town of Amalfi but not the drive there.  The drive is both terrifying (as in crazy) and beautiful.
 During the drive you pass many little towns which is great for the passengers in the vehicle, but as the driver you mostly need to ignore.
 Amazing views.
 Looking back on the town of Cetara Salerno
 If you are going to drive the Almafi Coast, you might as well use a BMW 1-series 118D!  Urban trim, this car is not available in the US.  There is a good place for lunch with easy parking at GPS 40.635591, 14.678170, I recommend the grilled fish.
 This is the city of Maiori.
 Looking west from Maiori,
 Enjoying a 40 minute stop at Maiori.  Don't mess with the parking police, they check.
 The Maiori 'boardwalk'.
 If you are going to visit this area over night might be easier to use a bus.
 Back on the road towards Amalfi.
 Approaching the city of Amalfi, traffic is not to bad.
 This city is beautiful.  Words can't really describe it.
 But you need to be careful with traffic little mopeds are always trying to pass on your vehicle blind spot.
 But once you park you can relax, I have a post from last January about the city of Amalfi.
 View of Amalfi port.
 Looking back on the port during a few seconds when the sun peaked through the clouds.
 If you are planning on driving the coast, try to get behind a bus.  These massive vehicles clear the way of everything.  You might think it's slow but it's not.
 Nice!  I'm just going to follow this bus.
 I need to figure out how to just relax at a bus stop when I'm a senior.
 Passing through another small city.
 The coast is 40Km long, but even the BMW GPS got confused.  It tried to keep up while I drove mostly in 2nd gear, but it would sometime lag compared to where the car was.
 Getting near Positano.  I want to sometime visit Positano in the summer but next time I'm taking the bus.
 This is the drive through Sorrento, after leaving the Amalfi coast.
 Little mopeds everywhere.
 Other mods of transportation too.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Italian Barbershop

It you are planning on visiting a barber shop in Italy for a haircut, this is the Italian translation you are looking for: più corti ai lati, più lunghi sopra.
If your Italian is limited, once you say the above phrase, that's about it for your input for your haircut.  If you ask a friend for how to ask for a haircut and they don't say something like the above phrase, beware, they just told you to ask for the pattern of a soccer ball to be shaved into your head.  Especially if the phase includes the words 'pallone da calcio'.

Mayor of Martina Franca

This is Francesco Ancona, Mayor of Martina Franca.
It's not clear why he is cutting the ribbon, there is nothing really new on either side of the ribbon.  But  it's being cut, for this kind of event you need a marching band!
This is the arch where the ribbon cutting took place.  Before and after the ceremony, the arch looked just like this.
 Old town was quiet during the ceremony.


On the northern edge of southern Italy is a town called Matera and the ancient town of Sassi, not far from where I live in Gtottaglie.
 Depending on where you park and what day it is the first thing you walk up on is a local market, lots of old things.
Lazy dog at the market.  It was difficult to find a tourist information office at Materia, not far from the market or this lazy dog is a 0.50 euro WC, at the lower level of the stair case if a pile of maps.  This is probably the best place to get a map of Matera.
 A man playing an accordion in front of Santa Lucia.
 The church of Saint Francis of Assisi, also known as San Francisco.
 Around the corner from the market are streets that lead down into the ancient town of Sassi.
 This town is amazing, I can't imagine the look of this place has changed much over that past 1000 years.
 This is also famous as the location that Mel Gibson filmed the movie the Passion of Christ [POC] at.
 Being the Sassi are valleys that lead up to the city.  In the hills around the city you can see caves, places where I hope people use to live.
 The back side of Matera's Sassi.
 Through out the town are structures built into the side of mountains, like restaurants and homes, this is a monastery and church.  POC filmed a few scenes in this cave.
 Looking up from the low lands of Sassi.
 A very small church, this did not even have an information sign outside the front door.
 Another view of Sassi.
 All throughout the city is details craved into stone.  This is a lizard head carved into a larger statue of a replica of the Sassi.